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Notes From Columbus

Here are a few odds and ends that didn't fit in my story for tomorrow's paper.

*McPhee is convinced that by playing his draft plans close to the vest (when does he not?) that helped the Caps land Alzner. Here's what he said: "There was all this buzz in the first round that we were taking [Alexei] Cherepanov. And it's because of that buzz that we got he guy that we wanted. Because I know there was a club behind us that wanted to trade up to four to take Alzner. But because we kept our mouths shut, and let everyone believe we were taking Cherepanov, the trade didn't happen and we got out guy."

*McPhee on trading down, which the Caps did three times this weekend: "We keep accumulating picks. As long as we keep getting the players we wanted. Years ago we would just take the guy we wanted right there. But with [director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney's] experience now, he'll say I think we can get this guy six or seven spots down the list. So we move down a few spots and build up picks for next year. It worked out pretty well this year."

*All 10 of the Caps draft picks were North American born -- something that seemed to be a trend around the league this weekend. Consider this number: 165 of the 211 players taken were from either Canadian or American.

*Karl Alzner, who is a quite a character, won a cookie baking contest as a nine year old in British Columbia. But he admitted that his only role in the process was licking the spoon (his mom did all of the work). Still, he gets credit in the media for being a great cook, which he laughs about.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 23, 2007; 4:09 PM ET
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Next: Huge Mess in Nashville


I think this was bar none the best GMGM draft ever. Its good to see we have assets to move with next years draft (supposedly deeper) and the young blood in the pipe in case any of the current 'prospects' get moved.

Posted by: Matt | June 23, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Three 2nd Round picks in '08 sounds pretty good, since its supposed to be a better class. They could also include one or two in a package

Posted by: Cush | June 23, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Jurcina, et al feel about their boss saying Europeans can't win Stanley Cups. Pretty smart.

Posted by: katzistan | June 23, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Did he give any indication that there would be some dealing with this years picks?

Posted by: Lee | June 23, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

whatever I´m not judging that douche bag until after all of top talent has been signed

Posted by: jleftwing97 | June 23, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm in total disbelief. I'm in shock. I just don't want to believe George McPhee could be so insensitive and racist. "We've got ENOUGH in that department."? Are you kidding me? Tell me it isn't so. Tell me it's a misquote. Someone, PLEASE!
I thought the object was to ice the best team possible. I thought we'd gotten past the race issue, at least in ice hockey. But, obviously we haven't. My, my. What a seering revelation. Maybe THAT'S WHY sixteen players were chosen before the Russian. Huh? Was that what was happening? That now becomes a logical conclusion based on George's regretable comment.
And, this from the General Manager of a team whose three ( 3 ) best players are all "Foreigners." Yes, that certainly must include The Great Olaf Kolzig, who was born in South Africa, not to mention Sasha Semin, and Ovey. Incredible! What are those three players to think? How does that make them feel? How would YOU, Caps fan, feel if that type of mindless statement was directed to you or someone in YOUR FAMILY.
IMHO NOTHING LESS than a heart wrenching apology is in order. And, that wouldn't be enough! How dare him make a statement like that. Just who in the ---- does he think he is!?
Well, I for one, am outraged. Am I the only one. I certainly hope not. Heck, if it weren't for the afore mentioned Russians and S. African, the Caps wouldn't even qualify as a legitimate AHL team. George, your time is up. It's past time for you to pursue your life's work. And, it sure as heck shouldn't be managing anybody, BUT YOURSELF!

Posted by: Puckguru | June 23, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

whoa whoa whoa now, easy boy, put down the natty ice youre getting belligerent. first of all, nothing about what he said was 'racist'. secondly, yes, you are the only one. Its one thing to be mad with him taking alzner, but now youre just nitpicking.

Posted by: hi, i'm.......laughing! | June 23, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

yea man calm wasn't racist... and yes your still the only one...tarik did you let al sharpton on this blog?

Posted by: shwedy | June 23, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Folks, I removed the quote from McPhee because it was said in a much larger conversation and I'm afraid it was being taken out of context.

Posted by: Tarik | June 23, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

And no, no one told me to do it.

Posted by: Tarik | June 23, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

GMGM did not say that Europeans can't win Stanley Cups, nor did he denigrate foreigners in any way. He merely said that the Capitals don't need any more players with the types of skills that are typical of players coming out of Europe. If anything he is suggesting that the goal is to create a diverse team. Sounds like the opposite of racism or any kind of ism to me. On second thought, perhaps it's the sports-philosophy equivalent of antidisestablishmentarianism.

Posted by: alex | June 23, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

There are an awful lot of panties in a bunch over nothing...

Posted by: Graham | June 23, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

There are an awful lot of panties in a bunch over nothing...

Posted by: Graham | June 23, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

My Dear Shwedy,
Now, why would you want to go and diss me like that? Al Sharpton!? Geeezzz. The man is neither as homesome, nor as indisputably articulate as I. So, there... Hahahahaha

Posted by: Puckguru | June 23, 2007 9:34 PM | Report abuse

glad to see someones lightened up a bit

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I think getting rid of picks you dont think are likely to pan out or be kept by in your minor affiliate is a wise move in a thin draft , especially since the next one is projected to be deep. I'll admit, I'm a little out of that loop as I'm not a scout and don't get to see all tiers of talent. I would like to know what GMGM didn't like about Petrecki, out of sheer curiosity. Why did he think more highly of the guys he took later than Petrecki, Tarik? Thats the little nugget of info I'm interested in! As for Cherepanov, he wasn't coming over any time soon and already has the makings of a prima donna. I would take his skill set any day, especially to trade, but I agree with the fact that defensemen are always in demand and we could use more in the pipeline. We saw it with Niedermeyer and Pronger in the playoffs. If you can get some highly skilled blueliners you have more room to play up front. I think the opposite holds teams back; take Tampa for example: great talent up front (as much as you could hope for with a salary cap, right?) but nothing in the back AND weak in goal = early playoff exit. Now, the caps have Green, Jurcina, Morrison, Shultz and Alzner to bring up. That aint bad at all. I have no problem witha kid that is suceeding in being more like Lidstrom! All in all, my only question is why did Petrecki fail to impress.

Posted by: MM | June 23, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

"The man is neither as homesome, nor as indisputably articulate as I."

I cannot attest to your attractiveness and will take your word for it, but I'll grant you that your first post was the most articulate heap of hysterical PC crap I've read all week.

He never suggested that Europeans can't win the Cup. Calm the frig down.

Posted by: Blotto | June 24, 2007 2:33 AM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHAHA the Caps got enough skill, hockey sense and slick skating already! Yeah really, they got three good players, all European, and really they don't need any more! Bring along more muckers and grinders, more Clymers and Bradleys, more Comries and Pothiers, and who knows, maybe this team will be next-to-last instead of last like it has been for three years in a row under McPhee's watch!
Here is something for you guys about how to build an NHLteam. When asked what he focuses on in the draft, a GM of a team that contends for the Cup every single season said:
"We really like skill. We really
built our teams on skill. [...] We like skill, we like players that can kind
of think. You know I guess that's the reason why we probably draft a lot of
Europeans. We probably play a European style hockey."
And all that said by Ken Holland, the best and most sucessfull GM in the game, who is night and day above McPhee.

Posted by: Scai | June 24, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for those tidbits, Tarik, interesting stuff.

On McPhee, where there is smoke there is a fire. He can very easily like individual European players, but have the mindset that too many of them creates a softer and less single-minded of a team that will not go very far. Heck, its a mindset that is shared by a lot of people..

If thats the case with McPhee, thats just too bad, it will be the Caps' loss. I agree with the last poster, hopefully Detroit will continue to be the beacon of enlightenment for the rest of the league.

Posted by: Vlad | June 24, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

First of all, McPhee's comments weren't "racist", but they were stupid. Why take a chance on pissing off your best players by saying something mindless like that. BTW, when are they going to come up with some North American skill players? Finally, if McPhee was so intent on picking Alzner and was so clever as he claims, why did he start mentioning Gagner instead when he was at the lectern? It is clear that they thought LA was going to take Alzner and the Caps were lined up to take Gagner. When LA did something unexpected, the Caps ended up with Alzner instead. Anything else out of McPHee's mouth is nonsense.

Posted by: Joe | June 24, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

This team once again is a joke unless serious strides are made on July 1. Fla, who we lost too 7 times last year just pulled off a major upgrade in their goal. not to say they did not already have us in their back pocket with Belfour. Now they have Voukon and will be breathing down the division title in 07/08. We are in for another year of disappointment unless a clear plan is executed come July 1.

Posted by: cup1975 | June 24, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Scai & Vlad,
Thank you very much.

Posted by: Puckguru | June 24, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Scai & Vlad,
Thank you very much.

Posted by: Puckguru | June 24, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey Puckguru, I liked your comments a lot.
Somebody has to tell the truth, even if it hurts.
It's a good thing for McPhee that his comments now are nowhere to be found because pissing off all his good players could mean the end of his tenure as the Caps' (or any other NHL franchise for that matter) GM. Remember guys, Ovy's, Olie's and Semin's contracts are all up at the end of the season. How GMGM handles those three Europeans will have a big impact on his future in the league.

Posted by: Scai | June 24, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

no scai, vlad and guru, thank you, for giving me something to luagh at. youre all ridiculous whiners looking for something that might 'catch on' around the blogs on the web because you dont like mcphee, and you wanted an overrated russian, who didnt get drafted until pick SEVENTEEN. GET OVER IT.

Posted by: get a life | June 24, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If the two Russians on the Caps team were not there, the Caps would have the worst record in the NHL in HISTORY!!! So get over it, schovenistic idiots.

Posted by: Finn | June 24, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

no one will argue about ovechkin and semin, obviously. but it doesnt mean they have to draft every russian they come across after that. you need players like clark for balance. he was talking hockey and nothing more. pry your arms from around the tree.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Finn: learn how to spell "chauvinistic" correctly, and then its proper utilization before calling someone an "idiot."

Posted by: ? | June 24, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

1) We can't understand how ANYONE could say that the Caps had a successful weekend. On our blog(Not a Caps blog!) we discussed winners/losers and we decided that the caps were among the biggest losers this weekend. Why?
2) With a bevy of top defensive prospects/players both in junior/college/AHL, and on the NHL level what did George McPhee do with his top 3 picks? Well of course, he picked 3 more defensemen. Granted their first pick Karl Alzner was the highest rated defender available, but with a huge hole at center and after AO and Semin the team lacks a first line forward, you'd think GMGM would use his picks to bolster the areas which the team was weakest. In addition, and we admit its still possible, they did NOT make the anticipated trade to get that 'top center'. The pick of Alzner does free up the team to deal a defender or two, but will that be enough to get the player they promised their fans/Ovechkin they'd get?

Posted by: Fauxrumors | June 25, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

And just imagine, if GMGM doesn't pick up a capable first line Center in FA, Backstrom will step up into the first line and that shouldn't happen until next year at LEAST. He should be no higher than a 2nd. I'm worried about FA because they backpedaled doing most of their stuff for this next season in FA...instead saying that they were mostly relying on Trades..

First new ugly jerseys and now a bad draft..and he's still looking to next year's draft instead. I have no idea what the man is thinking...this season is already starting to look like another bottom of the barrel season. :( I'm a very unhappy Caps fan. Thank god for Hershey

Posted by: IrresistibleForce | June 25, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

drafting a forward this year was not going to have ANY impact on next years team. trades and free agents are still hopefully around the corner, and if that doesnt pan out, then thats the time to get upset. as far as alzner goes, hes likely to have the most immediate impact out of all the draftees except maybe kane.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Cool!China caps

Posted by: caps | July 9, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

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